I. How to get around in New Caledonia ?
Point Rouge car hire gives you all the necessary recommandations to select the right car (compact, sedan, SUV, pick up and mini-bus) for your stay.
This year, it is decided: you are going to the other side of the world to discover New Caledonia, a real piece of paradise in the middle of South Pacific! Flights are booked and you already picture yourself on the beach, admiring turquoise waters and turtles of the world largest lagoon.
So everything goes smoothly, Point Rouge car hire gives you advice to prepare your itinerary on the main island (which is about 400km long) as well as all the logistics involved (transportation, accomodation, activities…)
II. Noumea’s international airport - La Tontouta: welcome to New Caledonia !
La Tontouta’s airport being located about 40km away from Noumea, organizing your airport transfers in advance is necessary. Point Rouge car hire can definitely welcome you as soon as you land since we have a desk at the international airport. You can easily book from our website and you’ll be able to choose between our different categories of cars depending on your needs (travelling distance, space and confort):compact, sedan, SUV, pick up or mini-bus. Our additional service: ask for a pocket wifi to enjoy 4G during your stay.
> Good to know : New Caledonia is a French territory following the European driving rules. A driving license is required to rent your car (minimum age required : 21 years old). There is no highway in the country, only 20km of speed way before entering Noumea. Be careful on main roads like the RT1 (pretty much a small national road) because they are limited to 110km/h (outside of populated areas) and 90km/h when it’s raining.
III. Noumea: discover the country’s capital city
Your first days in Noumea will allow you to relax after your long journey! It will be an occasion to wander and discover more about life in New Caledonia. As Noumea is built on a hilly landscape and distances between tourist places are not really walkable, having a car seems like an easy solution to get around. A little city car (Twingo) should be more than enough but Point Rouge car hire also has more confortable options like a Citroën C3 or a Subaru XV (automatic) if you want to travel in style. Please note that all vehicules have air conditionning.
To kick off your tour, Point Rouge car hire suggests to visit Tjibaou Cultural Center http://www.adck.nc/ to learn more about the kanak cultural identity. Let’s head then to Anse Vata Bay to reach the summit of Ouen Toro, where you can admire the lagoon! Young ones and old ones will be happy to visit Noumea’s aquarium where you can meet all the species which live in the Caledonian lagoon! After a quick stop in town, do not hesitate to visit the Maritime Museum and then to reach Nouville, where Kuendu beach is waiting for you! Once there, make your way up by walking or driving (4x4 preferred) to Fort Tereka, old canoons used for defense in 1877. End your day by enjoying a mojito in one of the numerous bars of Lemons Bay, you deserve it !
IV. Kick off your road trip on the main island !
Point rouge car hire takes you on the roads of the main island for about 1,000km (which should take at least one week). It is the perfect opportunity to discover two different atmospheres: the West Coast with its stockmen and the East Coast, which is more rooted in the kanak culture. Main roads are in good condition and easily accessible with a compact car or a sedan, except for the extreme North and extreme South areas which require a more adapted vehicule (Dacia Duster or Toyota Hilux). Considering the travelling distance, do not neglect comfort and praticity. However, Dacia Duster remains the best pick in terms of value for money for this itinerary and will allow you to reach all destinations without any trouble. You are travelling with your family? We can give you the option of a mini-bus(6-9 passengers) equipped with solar films to keep your personal belongings safe. Last advice: if you don’t want to get lost, request a GPS !
1. La Foa
Distance from Noumea: 100 km
Small town located North of Noumea, well known for its Marguerite footbridge, the hotel/restaurant Le Banu and its collection of 4,000 caps.
Not far from La Foa, you’ll find the village of Farino and its Giant Fern Parc where you could watch the famous Cagou (a bird, emblem of New Caledonia). Further North, near Moindou, you’ll find Fort Teremba, an old penitential centre full of history which is worth visiting. www.fort-teremba.com
2. Bourail / Poé
Distance from La Foa : 50 km
Bourail is home to exceptional sites such as La Roche Percée beach, kept by « the Bourail fellow », an impressive monolith. Every year (from December to February), turtles come to lay eggs on this beach. Not far from there, you’ll find Turtles Bay, a stunning beach, completely deserted, located between two cliffs (access by 4x4 recommended). Further North, you’ll discover Poé beach (5km long) as well as Deva’s domain. It is a true paradise for water sports, snorkeling, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding as well as doing a scenic flight over the lagoon. Accommodation recommended: Sheraton Deva, Poé’s hotel or camping, Betikuré lodge (Bourail).
3. Koné / Voh
Distance from Bourail : 100 km
Koné is the second economic city of New Caledonia and is part of the area called « VKP » (Voh, Koné, Pouembout). It is mostly known for its proximity of a true natural jewel: Voh’s heart, made famous by the photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand! It is possible (and highly recommended) to do a scenic flight over Voh’s heart, it is a magical experience !
Please note the local company Air Caledonie (from Noumea Magenta’s domestic airport) flies two to three times per week to Koné. Point Rouge car hirel has an office in Koné and can provide you with a car as soon as you arrive in Koné !
From Koné, it is then possible to reach the Eastern coast, taking the crossing road called « Koné Tiwaka ». About 40km long and very pleasant to drive, it meets the coast between Hienghène and Poindimié.
Distance from Koné : 175 km
Let’s head to the extreme North of the main island! On the road from Koné, do not hesitate to make a stop in Koumac to go around its impressive caves and its old mine of chromium (mine of Tiébaghi).
Keep driving to Poum and then to Poingam (4x4 recommended) to enjoy a delicious meal at the famous Relais de Poingam! You can also spend the night there, in a bungalow or in a tent. Discover the surroundings and relax in a mud bath made with the argyle of kô! End your day by hiking the col d’Arama, from where you can admire both West and East coasts of the main island at the same time.
Distance from Poingam : 290 km
It is time to head back South, taking the road that goes along the East Coast this time! Follow the direction of Ouegoa, then Pouebo to reach the cornice road with its lush vegetation. The travelling distance is quite long but you’ll have many occasions to stop between lookouts, falls (Tao fall and Colnett fall) and the famous Ouaième ferry to reach the road leading to Hienghène. Once in Hienghène, go meet the famous Hienghène Hen (from its observatory or by hiring a kayak at the nautical base, near the Town Hall). South of the village are located the majestic cliffs of Lindéralique.
In terms of accommodation, you can immerse yourself in the kanak culture by spending the night in a tribe (in the mainland, 4x4 recommended). You also have the option of the Koulnoué hotel (on the beach) or Ka Waboana B&B (in the village). Whichever you choose, both will gladly welcome you.
Distance from Hienghène : 75 km
The road to reach Poindimié is still surrounded by a lush vegetation, especially with high coconut trees facing the ocean. Don’t forget to take a look to the mailboxes along the road !
Once in Poindimié, relax on Tieti’s hotel beach or go for a first experience of scuba diving! More into snorkeling? Get on the boat to go to the stunning Tibarama island and its coral reefs. On the road back to Nouméa, keep going to Houaïlou and turn on the crossing road of col des Roussettes. You’ll then reach the town of Bourail.
Distance from Nouméa : 75 km
Last stop of your road trip (or first one, depending on which way you decide to start), the Great South is known for its red soil (due to the mining activities) and its Blue River park, true paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. You can also camp in the park. Further South, you’ll find the Cap n’Dua and its lighthouse. It is highly recommended to get there during the whale watching season (June to September) as telescopes are available onsite. You can also leave from Prony Bay onboard of catamarans to get as close as possible from whales !
> Good to know : the road condition (which is not paved on different sections) can be very random depending on the weather. For more security and comfort, it is recommended to go for a SUV (Dacia Duster) or a pick up (Toyota Hilux). Remember as well to grab newspapers to protect the interior of the vehicle against the red soil which is very dirty and tenacious (an additional cleaning fee may be added at the end of your rental).
V. Go discover the Loyaulty islands and Ile of Pines !
You got it, the main island has stunning landscapes! However, the most pristine beaches are located on the islands. It is an unmissable stop during you stay in New Caledonia. You’ll be able to live in the heart of the kanak culture and its tribes. It is an unforgettable experience you won’t regret !
To reach any of the islands (Lifou, Maré, Ouvéa and Ile of Pines), the starting point of your journey is Magenta domestic airport, located 3km away from Noumea’s city centre (tickets available on Air Caledonie website). Good news, Point Rouge Car Rental has a desk at the domestic airport, allowing you to drop off your car when leaving to the islands and to pick up a new one when you come back to Noumea! You prefer getting there by boat? Go to the maritime terminal in Noumea to board the Betico, our teams will be able to take care of your vehicle as well !
The toughest part will be to pick the islands you want to get to… Here are our recommendations :
- Ouvéa : a vast beach of 20 km long, a lagoon that goes on forever, perfect for relaxing
- Maré : authentic and less frequented by tourists, it is a paradise for hikers !
- Lifou : the largest of the Loyaulty islands which has all the assets of Ouvea and Mare. The ideal choice when you only have time for one island.
- Ile of Pines : the most touristic one with a great diversity of landscapes.
> Good to know : schedule your trip in the islands at the beginning or middle of your stay in New Caledonia, to avoid issues linked to the domestic transportation (technical breakdown, strike or bad weather conditions) that would make you miss your international flight.
VI. Water sports lovers (kitesurf, windsurf) ?
New Caledonia is home to perfect spots to practice Kitesurf or windsurf. 30 degrees turquoise waters, regular trade winds blowing every day from October to March, prevailing wind South-East. It would be a shame not to enjoy it! To enjoy as much as possible and in the best conditions, Point Rouge car rental recommends booking a spacious vehicle with a big car trunk capacity so you can carry easily your stuff. An SUV (Dacia Duster) remains the most affordable option but we can also provide you with a pickup (Toyota Hilux) if you travel with your quiver. You are travelling in a small group ? Book a minibus !
Now you are fully equipped, you only have to choose one of the most famous spots in New Caledonia :
- Noumea : Le Méridien, Aquarêve, Anse Vata and îlot Maître (Escapade island, accessible by taxi boat).
- Ouano beach : about 1h15 drive away from Noumea, a long croissant shaped beach, shallow water and onshore wind.
- Poe’s beach : 2h15 drive away from Noumea, a magnificent reef with a beach of about 15km, mainly side shore winds.